Slips, trips, or falls can happen at any time at any place to anyone. From black ice in a parking lot to work-related falls, many different hazards can cause a non-disabled person to lose their balance and fall to the ground.
For many people, a slip or fall can be very embarrassing. They will most often try to dust themselves off and pretend that nothing happened. What they might not realize is that they could have sustained an injury that might not manifest itself until a few days or weeks later.
Let’s examine slips, trips, and falls, and what you should immediately do if you accidentally take a dive to the ground:
Slip, Trip, and Fall Statistics
Slip and fall accidents happen annually at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that around 800,000 people every year are hospitalized due to sustaining an injury from a fall. Head injuries and hip fractures are two of the most common.
Slips and falls are the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 65 to 84. For people, 85 years and older, falling to the ground is the number one cause of death. The statistics indicate that with each decade a person lives, the chances of them falling to the ground increases significantly.
What Can Cause a Slip or Fall?
It’s not only the elderly, infirmed, or disabled who are most at-risk of falling unexpectedly and sustaining an injury. A liquid spill in a supermarket, such as clear dishwashing detergent, can lie there unnoticed for an hour or more.
If someone were to walk over it without realizing it’s there, they could immediately lose their balance and come crashing down to the floor. Black ice in a store parking lot is very slippery and almost impossible to see in the low-light conditions of the winter. A parking lot with poor drainage and a recent cold snap is all that it takes for black ice to form.
Several other issues can lead to someone slipping and falling:
– Boxes piled too high on a cabinet at work.
– Sidewalk cracks.
– Parking lot potholes.
– Cluttered floors and torn carpets.
– Poorly designed and constructed staircases.
– Recently waxed or washed floors.
All of the above conditions can lead to an unsafe environment. No matter how physically fit or young you are, if you suddenly and unexpectedly lose your balance, there’s a good chance that you’ll fall down.
If you suddenly find yourself on the ground after a fall, here’s what you should immediately do:
Check for Injuries
Your immediate safety should be your only concern. If you hit your head, hurt a body part, or you cannot get up on your own power, call 911 immediately. Even a minor head injury could turn into a major medical issue a few hours or days down the road.
After you’ve received medical treatment, now is the time to start gathering up evidence. Police reports, hospital records, and even insurance paperwork will all play a critical role in your quest to seek justice.
If it’s safe to do so, pull out your cell phone camera and start to document the accident scene. Try to take pictures from multiple angles and show the relation of any equipment, boxes, or whatever caused you to lose your balance. If there are witnesses nearby, ask them if you can have their contact info.
Report the incident to the manager or owner of the property where you fell. Even if you think you’re OK, it’s better to be safe than sorry as certain injuries can take weeks or even months to manifest themselves. Ask the manager or owner for a written report, statement, or record that you informed them of your fall.
Do Not Give a Statement
Limit the amount of communication you have with the owner of the property or building. If they or their insurance agent asks you for a verbal or written statement, do not give one.
The insurance companies only have their client’s best interests in mind. No matter how friendly or amicable the insurance agent may seem, do not talk to them. Instead, inform them that they will need to call your attorney if they wish to discuss the matter.
Slip, Trip or Fall Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident, you’re going to need legal help. Do not negotiate or settle with the insurance adjustors as they will try to lowball you. You might also have medical injuries that could require years of expensive therapy and treatment.
Call the Law Offices of Thomas D. Bumgardner at (704) 870-4779 and ask to speak to a personal injury attorney. We’ve helped countless people in the Ballantyne area who have slipped, fell, and sustained injuries.
Our attorneys are caring, empathetic individuals who will do their very best to provide you with professional legal representation and help you seek justice that you deserve.